Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands
Posted 2 years ago By - Marko Djordjevic
To the average gamer, the Prince of Persia series might seem like nothing more than a puzzle/platformer set around Persian lore. To the hardcore though, it has been so much more. From its first appearance over 20 years ago to its re-imagining in 2008, it has given way to interesting and varying game mechanics unlike anything seen before it. With the release of Prince of Persia on the big screen, the people at UbiSoft have brought back its successful Sands of Time storyline with Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands. Unlike past games that took risks in introducing fundamental changes to the way we play games, The Forgotten Sands doesn’t push the boundaries; but still manages to act as a serviceable title that will satisfy fans and could potentially introduce newcomers to the series.
With any Prince of Persia title, one should always expect a game that is all about quick movement and proper timing. Fortunately, The Forgotten Sands is no different. Taking place between the events of The Sands of Time and The Warrior Within (the first two entries in the series), the Prince is thrown into an epic battle with mysterious forces after his brother Malik disturbs King Solomon’s Army and unleashes a demonic force. Your goal is to find your brother and stop the threat from destroying his Kingdom.
Similar mechanics from past titles are in play here. The Prince is required to climb and jump his way across the Kingdom and along the way he’ll have to navigate through various dangerous contraptions, puzzles and battles. Like The Sands of Time, he has the ability to rewind time if he happens to fall in battle or miss an important jump. This time around though, he has a few new abilities at this disposal which are slowly unlocked as the story is played out. These include the ability to "freeze" water momentarily and rebuild parts of the environment. The new skills given to the Prince all become increasingly important and interconnected as you progress.
While the new abilities are fine additions to the series, they get overshadowed by the game’s weak combat. Prince of Persia games have never been known for their great action sequences and that once again is the case here. On top of extremely repetitive enemies, the battles themselves are quite unimpressive. More often than not, you’ll just be thrown into a situation where a large group of enemies appear and you simply need to get rid of them as quickly as possible. The combat itself is nothing more than a button mash with occasional dodging and jumping thrown into the mix. The only saving grace to the combat is that the game does have an experience point system that unlocks special magical traits for the Prince that make the battles easier. For the most part though, you’ll never really rely on these tricks and when used, will probably only be during the few boss battles that come your way.
Again, when not in combat, this is where The Forgotten Sands shines. Every puzzle section, regardless of how small it feels, is really rewarding once you complete it. As you would expect, there are plenty of areas that require proper timing, but the difficulty is never too high or too complicated that you won’t know how to proceed. Of course there are some tricky sections late into the game, but it comes as no surprise. This will satisfy fans of the series who love to see how quickly they can traverse a certain part of the game and at the same time, newcomers will be able to jump in and enjoy themselves as well.
The only other issue with The Forgotten Sands that needs to be addressed is the lack of something truly new or different. The 2008 game took a big risk in both its Single-player Co-Op Gameplay and Art Style but outside of the new abilities, there isn’t anything introduced here. For a series that has often been the innovator and trend-setter, getting such a game-by-numbers title may disappoint those who were hoping for something more than a regular Prince of Persia adventure.
Graphics and Sound
At times, The Forgotten Sands looks absolutely stunning with plenty of detail both in close quarter situations and with its landscapes, including some nice design choices with our Hero and his brother Malik. But, while some areas are imbued with great detail, there are others where a bit more polish could have been used. All too frequently you’ll find anomalies where you can see through walls and some unrealistic physics. The physics issue especially become apparent with breakable items that continue to "roll" when they clearly shouldn’t be able to. These problems aren’t game-breaking by any means, but they are noticeable enough that it can sometimes take you out of the action.
Similar issues also hamper the music. For what its worth, the voice-acting and music are incredible with great delivery by both major characters and an orchestral score that adds to the tension of key scenes. While the music does its job in adding atmosphere, there are too many situations where the music breaks abruptly or suddenly stops only to kick-in again a moment later. Similar to the graphical hitches, these don’t necessarily ruin the game but are noticeable enough that you may question why such a marquee title has these novice technical mistakes.
The Forgotten Sands should take you roughly 6-8 hours to complete, which feels right for the pacing and action of the story. Anything longer would have been completely unnecessary and may have felt tacked on. After completing the game, there isn’t really any reason to head through the story a second time, unless you want to play the game using some of the U-Play bonuses that you can unlock. Outside of the campaign, there are two available challenge modes including Time Trial and Enemy Tides (which asks you to defeat 8 waves of enemies as quickly as you can). Again, both aren’t absolutely incredible but do give a bit of additional content for fans.
Even with all its short-comings and ’rushed’ feel, The Forgotten Sands is still a fine Prince of Persia title and one that will satisfy long-time fans. Like so many other games, a few more months of R&D would have addressed all of it’s issues and transformed a good game into a fantastic one.
+ Interesting puzzles that are both challenging and rewarding
+ Great voicework
+ Beautiful use of water
+ New abilities do add variety to the puzzles
- Weak combat
- Noticeable graphical and musical Hiccups
- Unlike previous PoP titles, the developers didn’t take any major risks or offer something unique
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Release Date : 2010/05/18
System : Xbox 360
Publisher : Ubisoft
Developer : Ubisoft Montreal
Category : Action-Adventure
ESRB : T
7.0 / 10
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